The Help looks at rules and norms governing gender in a Mississippi town in the early 1960s. White women are valued in society by their ability to produce children, who are then to be cared for by black women. Few jobs are available for women of both races. Black women are expected to be passive workhorses, and to sacrifice their own homes and family lives for those of their white employers. Through writing and storytelling, Skeeter, Aibileen, and Minny all dare to challenge the gender roles society sets up from them and receive greater fulfillment in the process. Their challenges are also steps toward an overall healthier community in many ways.